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From a USFS News Release:

The Federal Subsistence Board will hold a public meeting Dec. 12-13 at the Egan Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage to consider a proposed rule that would change the rural/nonrural status of several Alaska communities and areas. The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend. There will be an opportunity for public comment during the meeting.

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act requires that rural Alaskans be given a priority for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife on Federal public lands. Only residents of rural communities and areas are eligible for this subsistence priority. The Board initially determined which Alaska communities were rural when the Federal Subsistence Management Program began in 1990. Federal subsistence regulations require that rural/nonrural status be reviewed every 10 years, beginning with the availability of the 2000 census data. An initial staff review, completed in July 2005, recommended that the rural/nonrural status of most Alaska communities should remain unchanged for the proposed rule. However, under the proposed rule:

The Ketchikan Area is proposed to be expanded to include all areas on the road system connected to the City of Ketchikan (except Saxman, population 405 in 2005), as well as Pennock Island and an expanded portion of Gravina Island. No change is proposed in the nonrural status of the Ketchikan Area. Saxman would remain separate and rural. The population of the Ketchikan Area so identified, excluding Saxman, was an estimated 12,720 people in 2005, and the proposed rule notes that community characteristics indicate nonrural status.

Adak is proposed for change in status from nonrural to rural. Adak, a remote community in the Aleutian Islands, has undergone a substantial decrease in population (from more than 4,600 people in 1990 to less than 200 in 2005) which warrants a change in status.

Prudhoe Bay is proposed for change in status from rural to nonrural. Prudhoe Bay is an industrial enclave built for the sole purpose of extracting oil, currently with no permanent residents and none of the characteristics typical of a rural community.

Point MacKenzie is proposed to be grouped with the nonrural Wasilla/Palmer Area, and to thereby change in status from rural to nonrural. Available information indicates that Point MacKenzie is economically, socially and communally integrated with the Wasilla/Palmer Area.

Fritz Creek East (not including Voznesenka) and the North Fork Road area are proposed to be grouped with the nonrural Homer Area, and to thereby change in status from rural to nonrural. Available information indicates that these areas are economically, socially and communally integrated with the Homer Area.

Sterling is proposed to be fully included in the nonrural Kenai Area. Sterling has been part of the nonrural Kenai Area since 1990. However, for the 2000 census the Sterling census designated place was expanded, such that a significant portion now extends beyond the current boundary of the Kenai Area. This expanded portion would change in status from rural to nonrural with inclusion as proposed.

The Kodiak Area, including the City of Kodiak, the Mill Bay area, the Coast Guard Station, Women's Bay and Bells Flats, is proposed for change in status from rural to nonrural. Available information indicates that these places are economically, socially and communally integrated to an extent that warrants grouping. The population of this area is approximately 12,000 people, and the proposed rule notes that community characteristics indicate nonrural status. (Places excluded from the grouping, which would thereby remain rural in status, are Chiniak, Pasagshak, Anton Larsen, Kalsin Bay and Middle Bay, and villages and communities on the Kodiak Archipelago not connected by road to the City of Kodiak.)

Meeting materials, including the agenda, the proposed rule, the analysis used by the Board to develop the proposed rule, and the summary of Council recommendations and public comments can be found under the Federal Subsistence Board "Meeting Materials" section of the Federal Subsistence Management Program website at http://alaska.fws.gov/asm/home.html.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Clark or Larry Buklis with the Federal Office of Subsistence Management at (800) 478-1456 or (907) 786-3888.


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